NASHVILLE, Tenn. - For the first time in his life, Buttercup can walk like any other duck, thanks to a prosthesis developed with the help of a 3-D printer.
a YouTube video posted Monday, the peg-legged duck squawks, waddles and
walks on the bright red contraption as he is encouraged by his owner
Mike Garey, the duck's owner and one of the founders of Feathered Angels
Waterfowl Sanctuary in Arlington, Tenn.
was pretty much overcome with emotion. It was so thrilling," Garey
said. "I was happy it worked, but I was so much more happy for
Buttercup. You could tell he was so comfortable."
weekend, Garey poured a mold for Buttercup's prosthetic and eventually
fashioned the artificial webbed foot itself. On Sunday night, Garey
slipped a special sock over Buttercup's peg to allow the prosthesis to
stay in place comfortably and attached his new foot.
Then, at least for Buttercup, it was off to the races.
said he was afraid Buttercup would be scared at first and wouldn't
react well to the new prosthetic. He was amazed when Buttercup took off
running after only having his new foot for a few minutes.
"It's different for him because his leg is taller than it used to be
when he just had the peg," Garey said. "His muscles will have to adjust,
but I'm amazed at how well he's doing right off the bat."
domestic white duck was born in a high school biology lab with a
backward left leg, which prevented him from walking normally. He later
was given to Garey at Feathered Angels, and Garey knew Buttercup
couldn't survive with his deformity.
In February, a veterinarian
amputated Buttercup's foot while Garey began looking into prosthetic
options. He chose a Nashville-based copier reseller, NovaCopy, to help
him with the project because of the company's high-resolution 3-D
printers. NovaCopy donated its time, expertise and technology for the
Garey developed a design and sent the files to Joel
Graves, a NovaCopy 3-D printing engineer, who started a 13.5-hour
printing process for a prototype.
And now Buttercup is going on a
little victory tour: He's traveling Tuesday from his sanctuary in
suburban Memphis to NovaCopy in Nashville for a party in his honor, and
the public is welcome to attend.
Written By: Lexy Gross, The Tennessean